Pershing at the Front (by poet Arthur Guiterman) a student recitation favorite…

Back in the day students were required to memorize poems and recite them in class.  For most the process was torture—memorizing a poem from a list of “suggested” poems, working up the nerve to stand up in front of the class for the recitation, and enduring the embarrassment from  snickers of buddies in the audience.

Here’s one that was a favorite of the day, passed around on typewritten and mimeographed “ditto machine” purple-ink copies.     It is appropriate now, among all this false rhetoric about General Pershing, who was a World War I American general, with a long and distinguished reputation as a good, tough cookie among military Historians.

It’s a great poem…rhythm and meter perfect in my book, and well worth reading out loud and all the way through.     Thanks to the folks at holyjoe.org\guiter8.htm for posting it on their site.

Pershing at the Front

      by

Arthur Guiterman

    (1871-1943)

The General came in a new tin hat
To the shell-torn front where the war was at;
With a faithful Aide at his good right hand
He made his way toward No Man’s Land,
And a tough Top Sergeant there they found,
And a Captain, too, to show them round.

Threading the ditch, their heads bent low,
Toward the lines of the watchful foe
They came through the murk and the powder stench
Till the Sergeant whispered, “Third-line trench!”
And the Captain whispered, “Third-line trench!”
And the Aide repeated, “Third-line trench!”
And Pershing answered- not in French-
“Yes, I see it. Third-line trench.”

Again they marched with wary tread,
Following on where the Sergeant led
Through the wet and the muck as well,
Till they came to another parallel.
They halted there in the mud and drench,
And the Sergeant whispered, “Second-line trench!”
And the Captain whispered, “Second-line trench!”
And the Aide repeated, “Second-line trench!”
And Pershing nodded: “Second-line trench!”

Yet on they went through mire like pitch
Till they came to a fine and spacious ditch
Well camouflaged from planes and Zeps
Where soldiers stood on firing steps
And a Major sat on a wooden bench;
And the Sergeant whispered, “First-line trench!”
And the Captain whispered, “First-line trench!”
And the Aide repeated, “First-line trench!”
And Pershing whispered, “Yes, I see.
How far off is the enemy?”
And the faithful Aide he asked, asked he,
“How far off is the enemy?”
And the Captain breathed in a softer key,
“How far off is the enemy?”

The silence lay in heaps and piles
And the Sergeant whispered, “Just three miles.”
And the Captain whispered, “Just three miles.”
And the Aide repeated, “Just three miles.”
“Just three miles!” the General swore,
“What in the heck are we whispering for?”
And the faithful Aide the message bore,
“What in the heck are we whispering for?”
And the Captain said in a gentle roar,
“What in the heck are we whispering for?”
“Whispering for?” the echo rolled;
And the Sergeant whispered, “I have a cold.”

 


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Johnson’s Island, Confederate officers prison on Lake Erie, Ohio (Part Two)

(all photos on this page © Sometimes, 2017)   These photos were taken in May 1981 by Bob Dreger, my late husband.

The island prison housed Confederate military officers who were originally  captured during Civil War battles, and imprisoned  at Camp Chase, Columbus Ohio.   The object was to separate the officers from the rank-and-file soldiers and house them in the Northern prison where they remained until the end of the Civil War in 1865, or their death, which ever came first.    Over two hundred of them remain there, in their graves, to this day.

There is more to come from SOMETIMES, so please check back for more information about Johnson’s Island.     (I would continue now, but I have a lunch date with my best friend where we will fight the Civil War again.   We are on the same side…North, anti-Slavery, but present upheaval over Civil War statues opens up new debate across our nation—as if we don’t have plenty to debate! 🙂   For what it’s worth, this on-going perennial battle never dies.

 

 

Johnson’s Island confederate cemetery on Lake Erie, Ohio….photos of Southern soldier statue (Part One)

Here are two photos of the statue at Johnson’s Island, Ohio, taken by Bob Dreger in 1981.   The cemetery is a protected U.S. site, where more than two hundred Confederate military officers are buried.    I do need to clarify that Bob Dreger was the photographer, in 1981.  The copyright  is ©Sometimes, 2017.

This island is far North, half way to Canada.   It was important because all of the prisoners were Confederate military officers (Lieutenant and higher) who were separated from the rank-and-file soldiers incarcerated at Camp Chase, Ohio, and transferred to Johnson’s Island.

Later today I will try to post several more photos from this same batch.

This is the first part of this post on SOMETIMES, photos of the statue itself, including the pedestal, or base, which clearly explains the presence of a Southern monument this far North.   Johnson’s Island is located off of Sandusky, Ohio, in Lake Erie.   The island itself is privately owned, with controlled access.     Visitors to the federal cemetery do have access to the cemetery grounds, however.

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U.S.Civil War. Statue of Confederate Soldier, at Johnson’s Island, Ohio. Photo by Bob Dreger, ©Sometimes, 2017
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Base of Confederate Soldier statue on Johnson’s Island, Ohio, Civil War Prison. ©photo by Bob Dreger, Sometimes 2017)

the crisis d’jour

As if it wasn’t near perfect…
now here’s just what was lacking—
a beautiful woman spy
(er…excuse me…lawyer)
of course she has official backing.

The question that begs
to be thoroughly scrutinized:
were these Yankees duped
by nefarious, erstwhile  spies…
or are they just stupid?

 

New Leaf…stay tuned

OK.     Enough time has been wasted on the agonizing and agonistic misadventures of the United States Government (or lack thereof.)    I do hope to live long enough to ingrain some of the History of the World Under Trump into my DNA.   Right, I’m not even sure that is possible, about the DNA that is, but the truth is that until about twenty years ago I was not even aware of such a thing.       Science was never my bag,  although my interests and obsessions lie as much with clouds and rocks, bugs and sea creatures, as any one.

A basic interest in Geneology is in fact part of my basic make-up, due largely if not mainly to my Dad’s Mom, my Grandmother Lillian Turney Piper.    The font of knowledge or awareness of our family origins was argueably Lillian’s mother, Ann Avann Turney, of Tenterton, England.      OK, enough with the name-dropping.

We lived with the aforementioned forebears until I was three, so direct influence of Great Grandma Ann was by osmosis, so to speak.   She no doubt talked with me a lot about family affairs.  She also kept personal diaries after the age of about 80, when she was forced to curtail her former active social life and retreat to her home.   There she wrote her faithful diary entries…and discussed life and the world with visitors and family.    She read daily newspapers and other periodicals, and often wrote and received personal letters.

Visitors included members of social clubs, and church membership.   GG Ann was into all sorts of world activities, and wrote poetry.   Yes…a poet.   There was no WordPress then, of course, no computers or email.   The telephone was tied to the wall with a cord, and used only in turn with other people on the line (of course they listened in) so one just stated their business and got off the phone.    No texting…no cell phones.

GG Ann was keenly interested, and involved to whatever possible extent, in the WCTU: The Women’s Christian Temperance Union.   Their target—Alcohol.     I wish that here would follow exciting tales about women in long dresses and big fancy hats smashing bars and bottles with axes.   Or at least, rolling pins.     I have no details about GG Ann’s adventures with the WCTU, although there are extant examples of her original poetry and quotations clipped from newspapers.

To get back to my new pursuit…as I said earlier, my preoccupation with the United States government (or lack thereof,) only grows by the hour, and has no practical application to my personal blog.    My associates, followers, correspondents, critics…mostly are on the same political page wherever they are in our world.   Common sense and questionable judgement urges me to stay out of the comment sections of various venues, on the premise that everyone has an opinion and anything I say they will ignore, take offense, or call me names…which hurts my feelings.    Preaching to the choir has no direct result except winks and thumbs-ups…and arguing with the posters, trolls or not, is counterproductive and only makes me mad.

This morning a blogger pal reposted an article from a newspaper that mentions the Koch Brothers and hitherto emphasized family (group?) The Mercers.   I know who the Koch Brothers are…friends of Trump, I think…but the Mercers?   Hmmm, I have decided to find out who these people are, what they are up to, and—if they are related to ME.     GG Ann’s grandmother was a Mary Mercer… so that’s my new preoccupation.   (stay tuned)

 

 

Historiography at work

Historiography is the study of History.    It was one of my favorite mandatory seminars as a grad student at the University of Akron.

One of friends and cohorts here in Blog Land, raised a very interesting point in  a comment on how the Historians of 100 years from now would treat the scenario in rage now of the Great Republican Plan to Obliterate the Obama Presidency.    Obviously all of us reading this will have no interaction whatsoever in the future century.   Who knows how the History of our age will be preserved, or how it will be reported to future generations.    The History of the Present hasn’t happened yet.

The Trump-Obama factionalism is too multi-faceted to tackle here.   However, the question is a good one, and leads me to ponder the basic differences between Now and Then…meaning past and future coverage of historical events.     There can be two designations here: Paper and Digital.

The most glaring difference is that what was written, published, in real books is that they were permanent.   Not necessarily the absolute authoritative sources on a given subject, but through a sort of consensus of opinions and research, and yes credentials.   In order to reach a thesis statement for a given publication, the writer presented his or her own ideas….something new, an alternate position.   There are always at least two sides to any proposition.

Here is a proposal that when it comes to Digital History, that which is presented over the internet by countless diverse sources, the information comes across only as permanent as the print-out a student or proponent, or indeed, opposition commentator, understands—or prefers to present as Truth or Falsehood—to their respective readership at any given time.

Digital History is much easier to alter, re-write, or inadvertently  distort  because of its fluidity…never permanent, always subject to a myriad of changes.    We see reports on the internet news channels… a statement made by an anchor person on CNN or Fox, MSNBC, BBC…at a given hour—that never airs again.

No one in their right mind for long will be able to watch Cable News constantly to keep up absolutely on the stream of information.    Remember when the internet was actually referred to as the Information Highway?   That was back in the 1980s, when major newspapers made the change from individual typewriters to the chaotic stream of News-all-the-Time.   Up-to-date means “constantly changing,” which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

 

let’s not over-react (yeah, right…)

Scary news out of Virginia.    Too bad the shooter is dead…why is this always the case?   These people who kill other people are always a mystery, and it would be interesting and helpful to be able to hear what they have to say.   Normally such comments are suppressed, except for a shouted out inanity in a courtroom, or incoherent suicide note.

My old Journalist Hat comes out of the closet when some of these events occur, and too often the questions that I would ask… if I were doing the asking…never get asked.       What would these shooters say?    One would think that a perpetrator of such a criminal act albeit stupid and cruel,  probably pointless, would have something to say.    Oh, right, it is more than likely that if left to speak without restrictions…or to explain their motivation or explanation.

What goes through one’s mind when actually taking a rifle and shooting into an area of innocent people?     Is it madness that drives the crime?   Are they making a statement?   Thinking that they are proving a point?     Attempting to set the stage for some kind of mad-crowd riot?   Calling for confiscation of guns that kill people—or emphasizing the “right to bear arms?”

Unfortunately it is unlikely that we will ever know the shooter’s rationale for what he did this morning.   What we will hear, is speculation, interpretation, opinionated points of view…over and over.   The original account of what happened will be related in sound-bites and rambled on and on in talk shows, CNN Commenters assisting the rhetoric by presenting assorted factions’ “talking points” for incessant rehashing.      Sadly—the whole incident is like a  made-for-TV political presentation—complete with Party Politics, and frought with grandstanding and posturing.

This can’t be allowed to warp into a distraction from the investigations unfolding in Washington now.     How could it be more obvious that the honest and honorable committee members must put the Russia investigation on the fast track NOW.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mad Magazine revisited…the return of the spies and good old espionage tales

 

 

 

Image result for Spy vs Spy Cartoon Characters in public domain
Illustration is from a selection of Spy vs Spy images that are in the public domain.

 

Long ago and far away…in the scheme of my life…Mad Magazine was the favorite magazine for satire and farce, and making fun of the Cold War—which actually was not at all funny, and jokes about the Russians (called the Soviets then) were much in vogue.   The world being divided pretty much dominated by two camps: the United States and Russians.   Us and Them.   The rest of the world was either with us…or against us.

The Free World—in which the benevolence of the U.S. supervised and kindly contributed to the rest of the world.    Our motto: we will help you and give you goodies like weapons and allow a great measure of independence and sovereignty—as long as you do what we say.    That includes voting with the U.S. in world organizations, and supporting our extensive military bases in virtually every country in the world.      This has two major purposes: 1. holding strategic locations in the world from which the U.S. maintains control.   2. We will protect you from the enemy—which is namely: The Soviet Union.  The old USSR—behind the Iron Curtain.

And so the present situation unfolds…and the position of good old Uncle Sam deteriorates under this virtual siege by an unstable, unknowledgeable, poorly educated minority in the United States.

God knows where it will all end.

 

 

 

 

 

There’s nothing as grand as a royal wedding (a bit of British history)

http://healthskillet.com/stunning-photos-from-pippa-middletons-wedding/37/

 

One of my favorite bourgeoise extravaganzas has always been a Royal Wedding.      So when I followed the trail to a set of photos described as “photos you weren’t supposed to see.”     I usually do not like following the pointing arrows from photo to photo in this feature, but in spite of myself sometimes, they are hard to resist.

The Wedding of Pippa Middleton, who (for anyone stranded on the moon for the past few years)  is the sister of Princess Kate, wife of Prince William….who, in the scheme of things here is the son of the late Princess Diana and Prince Charles, grandson of the reigning Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.    Prince Charles is the heir-apparent to the British throne.

True, Pippa Middleton is not really a “royal,” nor is her new husband.    She might be called a “royal-in-law” possibly?     But for purposes of this post and on general principles, Pippa is close enough to qualify.

These photos are very enjoyable to look at…beautiful bride, cute and “real” children, and fabulous hats worn by all the women.

These photos are not the usual stiff and perfect photos with everyone in the wedding party,  including the children,  lined up like little soldiers…under orders not to move, cry, make faces, or get dirty.      Obviously just having royal blood in the veins doesn’t make serving as bridesmaids/flowers girls, or page boys, any less trying.   So these candid photos of the wedding party, the children under the herding of Princess Kate for the afternoon.    Riding herd on six little children is not an easy thing to do.

My favorite British Royal of all time was back in the 1930s and 40s when the King of England was George VI, and the young Elizabeth (now the Queen) was a young girl….and her sister Margaret were the princesses.    Princess Margaret was my favorite…she was about six years old (like me at the time) and she was always doing cool stuff like dancing on tables and what not, under the beaming eye of her doting father King George.   Whereas Elizabeth was already being prepared for succession to the throne, Margaret was not under the same rules and expectations of propriety and decorum.

…end of history lesson.

 

The tyranny of fear, reblogged from “420 ways to reach the sun.”

(Here is a new-to-me site I found yesterday. I really like the site, theme and layout, and especially the content. This article on the inconsistencies and idiocracies of politics and the “will of people.”   I really relate to what the author says., and the way in which she writes. I have written elsewhere about my personal experience with fear and sanitation of war back in the 1940s when young children knew all about the chances of surviving a nuclear blast and could discuss it sensibly. ( I will re-post my Me and the War next.)  Thank you, ginsberg420!   🙂

420 ways to reach the sun

The face of fear has no expression.

Heaving dreams are hard to realize in a world where being a pacifist is akin to being a “radical idealist”. I remember when my father called me that. In this entire political rhetoric of normalization of war, it’s the opposition that is demonized. It’s a tragedy to be 20 and deprived of the privilege of being naïve. Never mind the fact that he owns more than the rest of the country put together. Never mind his disregard for the value of human life. Never mind the heaving dreams he stepped on with a smirk in his head. Never mind his rage, his tyranny, his plutocracy, his fast flying drones. Never mind.

Growing up to the politics of war hasn’t been easy, but watching a hateful, angry plutocrat get elected as one of the most influential men in the world has shaken me. Not…

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Mad Woman (Still) Searching for Lost Things (2)

Previously I re-posted an article I wrote two years ago.    I haven’t learned much since, when it comes to finding lost things.

The issue with the lost books from my inventory continues.    Yesterday’s book was right where it was supposed to be.   However, I won’t get complacent, because many of my books are not where I expect to find them.   The thing about that is annoying, but usually ends up with the book being found without much delay.    Only once in the years I have been selling books online have I had to run to HalfPriceBooks and buy another copy.

The search now involves a rotary slide holder, filled with slides and stored in the original yellow Kodak box the tray came in originally.    These slides are part of a slide-show production I put together to entertain my university class in World Civilizations, specifically a   2-credit course required of all students.   The courses were specifically designed History classes in world areas such as Latin America, Africa, Middle East…and many others.   The classes were usually chosen by students based on the time-slot as it fit in with their other classes, rather than any particular interest in a world region.

My presentation dealt with Mexican archeological sites in Yucatan including  Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, and Tuluum.  Obviously the slides that I selected were the ones I considered to be the best quality.   Most had been photographed by my late husband, I might add.    There are about a hundred slides.    The search is on…and the good part of it is that I have so far cleaned out and rearranged two major room closets searching.    I have located thousands of slides…but not this particular collection.

Last winter I ordered a Digital Film/Slide Projector, and it is the best thing since sliced bread.    It is very simple in operation, you just put the slides in the contraption, transfer the images onto an SD card, which corresponds to a photo site on my computer.    Perfect…..not automatic, exactly, but it isn’t bad because I get to view all of my slides from a thirty year period.       An added bonus is seeing the family shots of 30-something grandchildren as babies.   The farm is well represented in photos going back to the 1970s, as well as multiple vacations during the subsequent years.

Back to the subject…searching for that slide tray.        The closing of two shops at a flea market and an antique mall about five years ago resulted in half of my book inventory and dollhouse miniatures and all-kinds-of-stuff  into my garage, and most rooms in my house.     About half of my book inventory of about 2000 books now (not counting my personal library of books which is more extensive,) is catalogued on online book sites such as Amazon, Alibris, Biblio, Barnes&Noble…etc.     I have culled the inventory excess to the extent that most of what is left is  saleable. … in theory.     Every one of these books is numbered sequentially and readily available….except, of course, those that insist on misplacing themselves.

Oh yes, the point is that I am in the process of publishing many of my slides on my blog, and some of my best are missing.     However, my slide converter gadget also does film strips, so all is not lost.   I just haven’t tried the film strips yet.

Voyager 2’s Golden Record… intercepted? or still out there?

For no apparent reason this morning I thought about the space capsule that went zooming out beyond our Solar System on June 16, 1977.      I have known about the “Golden Record” containing various information about Earth that space aliens might be interested in, assuming that they someday “find” the capsule floating around out there and delve into our characteristics.      The NASA Space Agency facility in Cleveland, Ohio used to be open to the public, and I visited a couple of times on field trips with Girl Scouts or school class groups.     I was especially impressed with two features…although there was an endless wealth of exhibits: our Sun, in an animated flaming ball complete with sun flares and other details; and the Golden Record on Voyager 2.

The thing that impressed me the most was that the United States’ choice of popular music at the time was Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode, also famous as featured at the “Under the Sea” high school dance, in the movie Back to the Future.      Not sure I ever knew much more detail, except that the compilers had included some Bach and Beethoven, chosen by some of the more grown up nations.

Included here is the Wikipedia link for those of us who would like either a refresher course in Voyager 2, or a deeper look into the contents of the Golden Record….which is, I believe, literally a well, golden…record.      There are all kinds of information about various countries of Earth, animals, humans (although NASA apparently got some flack about naked human pictures, so they used silhouettes.)    I love that there is a recording of authentic Navajo Chants, and an hour-long recording of someone’s brain waves thinking about “earth-things” including thoughts of love.  Also, the sounds of thunder and rain, birds, animals, and motor vehicles…uh, wind and thunder maybe, but a John Deere tractor?   (They didn’t specify the brand, that’s just me.)   Other humanoid species probably would identify with Earth nature sounds…but a rumbling bulldozer or whatever is a bit of a stretch.

This Wikipedia site is really good…pictures and easy-to-follow charts and symbols.    Here’s the link:     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contents_of_the_Voyager_Golden_Record

 

 

FYI about the Khan Sheikoun affair for open-minders, from the Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/syria-chemical-attack-al-qaeda-played-donald-trump_us_58ea226fe4b058f0a02fca4d

Even for readers who already have their minds made up owe it to themselves to read this detailed Huffington Post article by Scott Ritter, and to add it to all available sources of information.     Here is a great example of “Alternate Facts,” in a logical sense of being mixed information from different sources, that as a whole may lead to knowledge of what really happened in Khan Sheikoun.

There is a creditable “trail of misinformation” under the smug expressions of media reporters.   We can’t believe selectively here…this situation is important enough for followers to be informed and alert…research, research, research!

It really makes me wonder why many of the same pundits who daily attack Donald Trump as a liar and self-advantage seeker suddenly hail him as a hero—are we really a people who judge our presidents by their bully-characteristics?   Are we understanding the “America First” thing to mean “America As Boss of the World…Richer and Stronger and Meaner than any other nation?”

Cure for lagging respect and trust—bomb somebody.

 

Russian roulette and rhetoric

Every week we watch the TV show Blacklist, which is noted for its elaborate plots of spies, agents, good guys and extremely unlikely  situations.     Now there is a spin-off show, starring one of the lead characters in the original show.

Last night’s episode dealt with The Russians— new spies and situations, and one of the most frightening and far-fetched (maybe…) “plots” that were featured in the old days when the Cold War was at its height.    We all knew from a very early age that The Russians were absolutely out to get us…to somehow come to the United States and take over everything.     One of the most nefarious scenarios was—Sleeper Cells.

These were groups of individual Russian spies that were trained to impersonate Americans, and underwent elaborate training programs to guarantee absolute authenticity.  They drove American cars, sang American songs, ate American food…even birthday cakes!     They lived in mock villages built to duplicate American homes and movie theaters, schools and way of life.     Then, when the training was completed, these Russians-turned-Americans would actually move to the United States to set up “sleeper cells.”

These “sleeper agents” would then establish their new identities within American towns and cities, and live among the natural citizens indefinitely…until they were “activated” to do whatever it was that they were supposed to do.    Namely take over peacefully instead of resorting to violence and war.

Readers who have never before heard about the supposed sleeper-cell projects will no doubt scoff…snicker even…at the fanciful imagination of the Cold War Kids.    On the other hand, those in the “know” will experience the old familiar shiver up the spine at the mention of being taken over by enemy agents.   Like the old monster movies where the bugs grew to monstrous sizes and proceeded to devour us—unlikely but still scary.

This whole idea used to be reoccurring in movies, novels…even newspaper articles.    It became almost like Science Fiction…associated with the similar flicks featuring alien hordes that arrived from outer space in space ships instead of in metal ships or railroad cars.

Apparently we are about to enter another era where we live in nervous laughter at ourselves as we encounter terrible scenarios, worrying about new neighbors moving in next door… gosh, they LOOK normal!  Let’s take them a tuna fish casserole and see if they are surprised…

Well, I’m not about to judge anyone.   I lived through this stuff before, and will probably survive it again.     I have always wondered about Russians.   If they were to simulate the American-way-of-life, what in the world was their own life like?       It used to be our own government that went out of its way to scare the citizenry with tales about being infiltrated by “them”…the Russians.   What if they actually wanted us all to become Russians…would we get to participate in world domination?